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Why UK Viagra Prescriptions are on the Rise

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Why UK Viagra Prescriptions are on the Rise

Sales of Viagra — in both brand-name and generic form — have surged in the United Kingdom over the past four years. First introduced in 1998, the medication has truly revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction in the United Kingdom and around the world.

This increase in sales of sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra, began in mid-2013 when Pfizer’s patent on the popular drug expired in the United Kingdom and most other member countries of the European Union. The end to the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant’s market exclusivity for Viagra opened the door to generic competition, which has increased steadily since the patent expired.

Prices Have Steadily Declined

With more generic drugmakers competing with Pfizer’s brand-name version of the medication, prices have steadily declined. An article that appeared on the website of the Daily Post in late September 2017 reported that prescriptions written for Viagra or its generic equivalents in North Wales alone have jumped by more than 60 percent since mid-2013.

The downward pressure on prices of the drug, generated in large part by generic competition, has cut the cost of these drugs to the National Health Service of Wales. The same is true for the National Health Service of England, National Health Service of Scotland, and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (the NHS equivalent in Ulster).

More People Can Afford Pill Now

According to the Daily Post article, the NHS of Wales was paying roughly US$31 for four pills in 2013 and less than $2 for four pills in September 2017. This brings the current cost for the drug down to about 50 cents per pill, compared with nearly $8 a pill four years earlier. As in England and Scotland, the NHS of Wales provides a wide range of healthcare services, most of them free, to the people of Wales. However, patients must pay for prescription drugs, which can be purchased through the NHS.

As a result, the effects of generic competition on prices have made the popular ED drug much less expensive than it was earlier for those who were already using the medication. However, the sharp drop in prices for sildenafil citrate has opened up a market that wasn’t really there before. Lower-income men who couldn’t afford $8 a pill to temporarily regain erectile function can now avail themselves of Viagra’s benefits for less than 50 cents a pill.

Viagra Could Go OTC

Yet another avenue for sales of Viagra in the United Kingdom might open up in the near future if Pfizer is successful in its bid to have the medication reclassified as a “P medicine,” roughly equivalent to an over-the-counter drug in the United States. As a first step toward this change in classification, the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, gave its stamp of approval earlier in 2017.

The MHRA’s recommendation won support from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, a professional trade association for pharmacists in the United Kingdom. Martin Astbury, president of the RPS, said such a move would increase access “to a medicine that has been proven to be safe and effective when used appropriately through over a decade of real-world use by millions of men.”

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Prescription Prices Higher in US

Prescription drug prices in the United States are much higher than they are in most other developed countries of the world, including the United Kingdom. Unlike the NHS, Medicare, which provides health care coverage for Americans over the age of 65, is statutorily prohibited from negotiating prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies that produce those drugs. Although some have suggested that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services be allowed to negotiate these prices, no action to permit this has yet been taken.

However, despite the disparity between prescription drug prices in the United States and the United Kingdom, the imminent arrival of generic competition for Viagra in the United States should begin to build downward price pressure as early as the closing weeks of 2017.

Pfizer’s Accords with Teva, Mylan

Under an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals that was announced in December 2013, Pfizer will permit Teva to begin selling a generic formulation of Viagra in December 2017. Pfizer struck a similar agreement with Mylan N.V., another major generic drugmaker, shortly thereafter. Pfizer’s U.S. patent on Viagra will not expire until April 2020, so both Teva and Mylan will be required to pay Pfizer a royalty for the privilege of marketing generic versions of Viagra.

Viagra

Generic competition has fueled a downtrend in the prices of Viagra — both in its brand-name and generic forms — throughout the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, American men with erection problems can purchase brand-name Viagra from their local pharmacy or order it from a reliable online supplier, such as AccessRx.com. To buy the drug, they will need a prescription. If they have a prescription from their regular doctor, they can fax it or scan and email it to AccessRx along with their order.

Men who feel a bit uncomfortable discussing their erection problems with their doctor can avail themselves of a complimentary online consultation with one of AccessRx’s team of licensed U.S. physicians. If the AccessRx doctor determines the prospective buyer is an appropriate candidate for treatment with Viagra, he or she will authorize a prescription. To learn more about Viagra and other ED drugs available through AccessRx, click here to reach the website’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

 

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About Don Amerman

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Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+